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Alice Cooper

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Let's Have a Reality Check

Posted: 28/12/2012 00:00

Hello my little children. So I've already blogged on The Huffington Post about how kids shouldn't worry if they haven't got the grades they wanted in the latest round of exams, that there are other ways to go forward with your life and how to be just the best you can be, regardless of those pesky bits of paper.

But I neglected to tell you people that there's one thing that really gets my horned goat in this grand scheme of things. REALITY TV! Please, don't get your head turned in an Exorcist style and think it's the way to fame and fortune, kiddies!

Believe me. I might be a rock star, all glitter, fake blood, make-up and theatrics (with awesome rock anthems of course) but you've no idea the hard graft and craft that's gone into my career.
The problem is with wanting to be a reality TV star, you're only famous for a little while. You can't live on that fame forever. That's one of the major problems with the whole schtick.

Want an example? I pick up a magazine and it says 'Brenda is leaving Tom' and I go, "who's Brenda?! Who's Tom?!" If it's Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, I go "ohh!" if it's Angie and Brad I go "wow!". If it's Claudia and Herman, I go... "I don't care! I hope they do break up! I don't even know them and I hope they break up!" Like, why should I care about these losers? I hate them more because they haven't earned the right of being famous!

How are people becoming stars by being idiots on TV? Why do we praise these idiots? If they were GREAT idiots on TV, if they were John Cleese-type of wonderful, crafted idiots, Fawlty Towers-style idiots, then you'd go, that's brilliant. But when they're just stupid, and you make them stars for being stupid?! It just makes me wonder what on earth the world is coming to?! It's like settling for fast food rather than gourmet food. You know, "I would rather watch these idiots in a house rather than go see a Shakespearean play!". We keep settling for stupid!

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When it comes to music reality TV however - because let's face it, if you're prepared to get on a stage and sing live in front of thousands, if not millions of people, you must be some kind of genius - the only thing I have against X Factor and American Idol and things like that is that they just keep putting out the same person. They keep putting out these cookie-cutters that can go, "oh yeah, I can sing Barry Manilow!" Well, how about you write your own song?

If Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, David Bowie or myself were auditioning for American Idol, we wouldn't get past the first audition, because that's not what they're looking for. They're looking for the next guy that 10 years from now, is going to be a singer on a cruise ship. Y'know, "Here's one from Burt Bacharach. Remember me, I was on American Idol? Finished third!" That's really what their career is going to be, because there is no creativity in it.

I can find 20 people in the street that can sing - it doesn't mean they're potential stars. American Idol and X Factor should start getting kids on that get on that stage with an image they've thought of, that write their own songs, then make them sell it to you and make you believe it - then that's a star.

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I've made nearly 30 albums in my career, I know what I'm talking about. You have to remember when I came out, at the same time as Elton, Bowie etc, record companies looked at your career, they didn't care about one record, they cared about the next 20 records. Sure, they were interested in selling records and being in control of your career to make loads of money, but they let you do the music. They just left you alone with that - not demanding cookie-cutter garbage!

Whereas now you're lucky to get a record contract. If you do get a record contract, unless they tell you exactly which cookie-cutter tracks to record, the most records you're going to sell is 15,000 because technology has killed the record business. It was a different time for me. Now, I tell young bands don't depend on your record sales. You're going to have to be the best live band around - that's what's going get you somewhere. If Paul McCartney came out right now with the best record of all time, it would never get played. That's crazy. Nowadays, people don't care about quality, they care about what's next, what's going to sell, not what's good.

Guys like the Stones and us, we know we're making records now for our fans. We're not trying to break new ground. If we do, great. But we've crafted a career beforehand. If 10,000 15-year-olds like my new record and they become Alice Cooper fans, great. But I know when I made Welcome 2 My Nightmare, 16-year-old kids don't even know about Part One. But the fans know about Part One and they go, wow, is this one gonna connect up with that album? Is this album going to be an extension of that album? Is it going to be a new Nightmare? Those are the people I'm making albums for and I try and cater to the lunatic fringe that happens to be my audience. But I've worked 40 years for that audience.
If you are my audience, thanks. If you're not, I hope I've warned you off the reality TV route and convinced you again to strike out down your own path and kick the cookie-cutters to the CURB.

As ever, good luck my kiddies!

Alice Cooper's Halloween Night of Fear III Tour hits the UK October 24-November 1. Tickets - http://www.livenation.co.uk. The album Welcome 2 My Nightmare is out now.

 

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